The Khronos Group has announced the ratification and public release of the OpenCL 1.0 specification. OpenCL will be a key feature in Apple’s forthcoming “Snow Leopard” operating system release.
OpenCL, or Open Computing Language, has been proposed as a new industry standard. It will enable software developers to tap into the processing capability of modern graphics hardware included in Macs and other computers, in order to handle computational tasks that can benefit from parallel processing. The Khronos Group anticipates that OpenCL will be leveraged especially by game developers, scientific and medical software developers.
Companies involved in the ratification of the OpenCL spec include Apple, Activision Blizzard, AMD, ARM, Electronic Arts, Intel, Motorola, Nvidia, and many others. Those involved with the development and deployment of OpenCL have been impressed with the short window it’s needed to get to its current state: It’s gone from a draft specification proposal by Apple to its current state in only six months; typically, adoption of new industry specifications can take years.
The OpenCL spec is being made available royalty-free, and it works across platforms. It was developed to help give software developers a way to write efficient, portable code for high-performance computing environments, and has been developed to work on a wide range of systems from embedded and consumer software to high performance computing cluster.
OpenCL has been modeled after OpenGL, the graphics technology Apple employs in Mac OS X. OpenCL is envisioned as a low-level programming interface — something that developer tool makers will build upon to create platform-independent software, middleware and applications.